Jesse Malin- Glitter In The Gutter (Adeline/East-West)

The Arts — By on April 12, 2007 at 12:57 pm

This is the third album in the third lifetime of Jesse Malin. He started back in the 80’s fronting NYC punks Heart Attack, then the trash/glam outfit D Generation (just in time for the grungy 90’s), before trying it solo in 2003 with The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction. Jesse’s buddy Ryan Adams produced The Fine Art in record time (under a week) and while it was a tad lacking in songs, it had charm to spare. The Heat followed a year later with much better material, a slightly slicker sonic approach, and Malin coming off as a Springsteen for the Brooklyn hipster set. Heck, even the 1986-style color-filtered album cover photo was killer.

Now in 2007, Malin seems to be reaching for the stars with the glossy-sounding Glitter In The Gutter, but he too-often comes up with only handfulls of air. “Don’t Let Them Take You Down (Beautiful Day)” is a sunny start and begs for placement in a movie trailer (I envision Kate Hudson laughing and smiling as Mark Ruffalo helps her fly a kite in Central Park or something). “Modern World” sounds like a leftover from the D Generation days and makes for a good single if you cut out the F-bomb near the end. “Lucinda” is another streak of sunshine that seems to be about the alt-country queen, Ms. Williams (“a proud poet’s daughter”). Even Springsteen himself drops by to duet on the tear-jerker “Broken Radio.” In fact, the album flows along pretty well until about two-thirds of the way through when things get a little confused (including a pointless re-recording of The Heat‘s “Since You’re In Love” and a piano bar cover of The Replacements’ signature “Bastards Of Young” that really should have been saved for a B-side). These missteps combined with Paul Hager’s smearing of California sun all over the mix (which hangs especially wrong on the Big Apple-to-the-bone Malin) ultimately render Glitter mostly harmless and leave it standing as a light pour from an artist who usually serves up stiff drinks. Tip accordingly.

RATING (1-10): 5.5

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